It’s always a strange, somewhat eerie feeling you get when you stumble upon a ghost town. There is a certain feeling of unease, and a curiosity as to why the town was abandoned. You wonder what happened there to make everyone get up and leave… Like any state, Iowa has its share of ghost towns too. So next time you’re in the area, take the time to stop and check out these forgotten towns.
This abandoned stone grist mill stands along the north fork of the Maquoketa River at the site of the deserted ghost town, Rockville. Rockville was founded in 1845 by Oliver Olmstead and the town boasted a sawmill, this grist mill, a blacksmith shop, a hotel, and several stores. None of this exists today except for the remains of this mill. The post office opened in 1846 and closed in 1898 when the Dubuque and Pacific Railroad began laying tracks in Dyersville, spelling the demise of this once prosperous town.
In 2004, the two rivers that intersect at Elkport both flooded simultaneously, sending water over the levee on the south end of the town. Given the number of previous floods, the town voted to relocate its citizens. In 2006, the town was leveled.
Buckhorn is a ghost town, located in Jackson County just off of Highway 64. All that is left of it is a cemetery, an abandoned church, and this building, the old Buckhorn Creamery.
Located in Carroll County, this old ghost town used to be the county seat. The town was slowly growing until the building of the Northwestern Railroad in 1867, and the laying out of Carroll. That year, a vote was cast to move the county seat to Carroll, leading to Carrollton's demise. If you visit nowadays, you'll see that there's still a store, post office, blacksmith shop and a residence or two.
Sunbury is a ghost town in Cedar County that was founded when the railroad was introduced to the area. Sunbury was once known for their dance hall, which was founded in 1895 and closed in 1964. The town also boasted a bank, which opened in 1901 and has been abandoned for decades.
6. Mount Etna
Mount Etna is a ghost town located somewhat near Lake Icaria. About all that is left of Mount Etna is an abandoned and dilapidated church and school house.
Stiles is a ghost town in Davis County that is no longer listed on the Iowa map. In 1858 the population of Stiles was one hundred people and the town boasted three stores, a gristmill, a blacksmith shop and saw mill, and two doctors who each had their own drug store.
What remains of Stanzel is now only a ghost town. There are only a couple of houses, an active church and this building. The dilapidated remains of the town can be located on Highway 92 in Adair County, between Winterset and Greenfield.
Not much remains of Dublin, Iowa. Once an Odd Fellows Lodge, this building was built in 1874 and the first floor served as a store from 1904 to 1969. The town boasted a blacksmith shop, cheese factory, glass factory, 2 other stores, post office, wagon shop, and its own cornet band.
Know of any more ghost towns in Iowa? Have any pictures you would like to share with us? Let us know in the comments section below!